How a disk utility saved my external hard drive and me from needless tears


I went to do something I often do which is connect my external hard drives to a computer to see files…. but tonight there were no files to see.  There was hardly a drive to see.  I don’t know what changed, but there was something it didn’t like.

This was a situation where tears would have come if the data on the drive was totally inaccessible.  Not because of a poor backup plan (I actually had one in this case!) but due to exhaustion.  But they would have been needless tears, as would have the frustrations that could have followed.


Instead of all that, I found this great link with a super suggestion to “try this”… it didn’t seem harmful or difficult, so I did.

LINK: Save your external drive!

The outcome was my learning about a free Mac disk utility called “Disk Arbitrator”.  In a few short moments I saw through this utility that my drive still had my stuff on it, was able to make my computer see it again through the standard Disk Utility on OS X and run a repair disk utility…. that didn’t seem necessary in the end.  But it seemed to come in, like a good mediator, and get everybody talking again.

MAC SOFTWARE: Check out Disk Arbitrator

I don’t know what the source of the problem was, and I know I should keep an eye on it.  But tonight I’m grateful that I didn’t spend hours trying to find a fix for a problem when this one did the trick.

Hat’s off to the original poster and a great little utility I’m sure will come in handy again.

The Case of the Disconnecting Drives has been Solved

server After an extremely frustrating moment where my randomly disconnecting drives escalated to become corrupted drives, I decided the pursue the matter further.

So yes, this is another techy, geeky post.  But maybe it will help somebody… Or even remind me later how I solved this when I come across the problem again.

What seemed to be happening was after a certain amount of inactivity, when left on this new hard drive enclosure (presumably) does something that makes the OS say ‘hey, you’re inactive… I will put your drives to sleep’ and then proceeds to disconnect everything very abruptly.

When I dug a little deeper I learned that there is an Energy Saver setting in OS X that controls whether the hard drives sleep or not.  It seems (at least for right now) I need them to not sleep.  (I imagine this includes external and the internal drive… So I might want to research this a bit more with respect to the internal drive.)

All I needed to do (it seems) is uncheck the “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” option, as seen in the screenshot.

Screenshot - OS X Energy SaverSo, there you have it. I made this change late last night, left the external drive on overnight and all through the day and everything stayed connect and uncorrupted. This is good news.

Another thing I learned about while prepping for this post was some nifty features about the “Preview” app in OS X. I’ll have to save those for a future post. But in the meantime, you Mac users, you really should check out the hidden power of Preview!

DVD stuck in your MacBook Pro?

So I managed to get a blank DVD stuck in the MacBook Pro recently.

To get it out I had to (1) unlock it, and (2) unmount & eject.

(1) It was trapped as part of a DVD data disc burn gone bad. :( Somehow in this process it got locked. To unlock it, I had to:

– Click “Get Info” for the drive/DVD
– Uncheck the “Locked” checkbox

(2) To actual get the disc to come out, standard methods of ejecting didn’t work. So, I had to:

– Open up a Terminal session (get to the command line)
– type: diskutil umount disk1
– type: diskutil eject disk1

Wait wait wait…. hey LOOK! The DVD popped out. Hurrah!

Remote control woes resolved

For much of the last day, I have been trying to figure out how to make the new living room “entertainment system” setup work all on a single remote.  Part of the problem I’ll blame on the TV being an Olevia and reading tons and tons of negative stories about how the thing cannot be programmed easily with other remotes.  I read and read, came up with other ways to approach the problem from, etc.  Looked for seemingly non-existent remote codes for Olevia TVs.

Then… I turned the Rogers cable remote control over. was listed under the instructions that did me no good.  But I hadn’t been to that site yet, so I thought I would try.

BEST THING I ever could have done in this situation!  Found out the Olevia TV code for my remote was 1610… promptly learned that I could control the power and volume from the cable remote, and rejoiced in my victory.  Looks like a useful site for people trying to simplify down to a single remote.  Hopefully it helps somebody else out there!